Alexander First School

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Music at Alexander First School


Music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It is a vehicle for personal expression, and it can play an important part in the personal development of individuals and groups of people. Music reflects culture and society, and so the teaching and learning of music enables children to better understand the world they live in. Besides being a creative and enjoyable activity, music can also be a highly academic and demanding subject. It also plays an important part in helping children feel part of a community.


This vision of music is what our curriculum at Alexander First School is built around. We provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music, to develop the skills, to appreciate a wide variety of musical genres, and to begin to make judgements about the quality of music.

The objectives of teaching music in our school are to enable children to:

  • know and understand how sounds are made and then organised into musical structures;
  • know how music is made through a variety of instruments;
  • know how music is composed and written down;
  • know how music is influenced by the time, place and purpose for which it was written;
  • develop the interrelated skills of performing, composing and appraising music.


Please click below to see our long-term plan and progression of skills for music.


The National Curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.


Key Stage 1

Pupils should be taught to:

  • use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
  • play tuned and untuned instruments musically
  • listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
  • experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.


Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They should develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
  • improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
  • listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
  • use and understand staff and other musical notations
  • appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians
  • develop an understanding of the history of music.


The Early Years Foundation Stage

We teach music in Nursery and Reception as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year and we also teach music in dedicated lessons that are aimed at giving our foundation stage children a taste of the interrelated skills that they will explore as they progress through the school. As the Nursery and Reception classes are part of the Early Years Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the musical aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. Music contributes to a child’s personal and social development. Counting songs and rhythms foster a child’s mathematical ability, and songs from different cultures increase a child’s knowledge and understanding of the world.


Teaching and learning style

At Alexander First School we make music an enjoyable learning experience. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children. Singing lies at the heart of good music teaching. Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to sing in tune and with other people. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. We teach them to listen to and appreciate different forms of music. As children get older, we expect them to maintain their concentration for longer, and to listen to more extended pieces of music. Children develop descriptive skills in music lessons when learning about how music can represent feelings and emotions. We teach children to make music together, to understand musical notation, and to compose pieces. Our music lessons aim towards teaching the children to be able to perform and compose and appraise as part of an ensemble.


Music curriculum planning

Via Charanga, our school uses the national curriculum for music as the basis for its curriculum planning. While there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each teaching unit, the progression planned into the scheme of work means that the children are increasingly challenged as they move through the school.


The school choir and musical events

We believe that music enriches the lives of people, and so we wish to involve as many children as possible in musical activities. The school choir, which we encourage all children from Y1-Y4 to join, also takes part in inter-school concerts and sings at various local events including Army services and celebrations as well as church events.

The school recorder club is always growing and is invited to take part concerts and celebrations throughout the year.


We provide opportunities throughout the year for budding musicians to perform for the school community. This includes solo and ensemble performances as part of assemblies and concerts. This recognises their achievements and celebrates their success.


Music and its impact across the wider curriculum

Music possesses several unique and extremely valuable educational characteristics that are particularly important in today’s schools, which face increasing pressure to provide students with an education equal to the challenges of the twenty-first century. Music positively impacts reading, language, math and logic skills and is universal in application, leading to excellent learning opportunities across the curriculum. Additionally, we must instil in students the ability to navigate our increasingly multicultural, complex and integrated world. Music, as the universal language, clearly has the capacity to reach across cultural boundaries like no other activity.


Another area that must be considered a core aspect of an education worthy to meet the demands of the twenty-first century is creativity. The ability to think outside the box to address increasingly complex issues and challenges and to make new and different connections that lead to exciting discoveries and knowledge will be one of, if not the most important characteristic that students must possess to be successful in a globalised world. Music is our most effective educational tool to encourage and develop creativity.


The contribution of music teaching in other curriculum areas:


Music encourages children to listen carefully for specific purposes and to articulate responses. Singing songs develops children’s language skills by focusing attention to rhythm, rhyme, diction and meaning. By working with others in a musical setting, children develop their ability to communicate ideas effectively.



By studying the structure of music, children are observing patterns and processes. Rhythm in music has a mathematical basis, and counting and recording beats in a piece of music reveals mathematical structures.


PSHE and Citizenship 

By making music in groups, children learn to work effectively with others and they learn the importance of good working relationships. Making and performing music builds self-confidence and often allows pupils who are not academically gifted to shine. Working together on a performance can be one of the most memorable things a child does in his or her time at school. Also, music gives children a vehicle for exploring feelings in a unique and safe way.


Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 

Listening to, creating or performing music can sometimes be a moving or even spiritual experience. Singing in church at Easter and Christmas are both examples of this. By studying the music of other cultures, children can develop more positive attitudes towards other cultures and societies that may be very different to their own.



One of the best ways to teach a foreign language is to learn songs in the language, as children remember vocabulary more readily when they have learned a song using the vocabulary.


Assessment for Learning

Children demonstrate their ability in music in a variety of different ways. We assess children’s work in music by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher assesses the work and gives oral or written feedback as necessary to inform future progress. Older pupils are encouraged to make judgements about how they can improve their own work. At the end of a unit of work, the teacher makes a summary judgement about the work of each pupil in relation to the National Curriculum, and records these grades. We also record our musical work on photo and video and this is used to show the children their skills and to inform future teaching and learning.